Universities awarded $17mn for nuclear power research

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said on Sept. 21 that $17 million in research grants will be awarded to 23 university-led teams aimed at strengthening the research and development capabilities of American universities and colleges to develop the next generation of nuclear energy technologies and upgrade research reactors across the country.

The DOE said that the 23 awards announced today build upon the Obama Administration’s efforts to enhance U.S. leadership in the global nuclear energy industry and ensure that nuclear power is a part of the United States’ clean energy portfolio.

The projects selected for negotiation of award cover two nuclear energy research fields: Integrated Research Projects and University Research Infrastructure Improvements.

Integrated Research Projects - $12 million
Developing a new generation of highly efficient reactors and new methods to store used fuel are two key issues that DOE is tackling under this research field. The Department is engaging universities in the effort to find solutions through NEUP's new Integrated Research Projects (IRP).

Funded over three-years, IRPs are large, multi-year projects led by teams of U.S. universities working to develop cross-cutting breakthroughs across the U.S. nuclear energy industry. The goal of IRPs is to engage the university community on larger research projects designed to benefit from the involvement of multiple universities, as well as industry, utility and national laboratory partners.

University Research Infrastructure Improvements - $5.7 million
In order for universities to conduct cutting-edge research and educate the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, they need the best equipment and infrastructure possible, the DOE said. The Department funds three types of infrastructure grants through NEUP – general equipment and infrastructure; minor reactor upgrades; and major reactor upgrades.

The maximum amount awarded for a general equipment award is $300,000. Individual universities can received up to $1.5 million for a major research reactor upgrade and up to $200,000 for a minor upgrade.

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